As luck would have it for Philadelphia high-school basketball fans, Friday night’s PIAA District 12 Class AAA championship doubled as a rare chance to see the winners of the city’s Public and Catholic leagues square off for a true City Championship.
That is exactly what happened Friday night for the first time in 33 years before an estimated 3,000 fans at Hagen Arena at St. Joseph’s University.
The Neumann-Goretti Saints would defeat East Germantown’s Imhotep Panthers 52-51 just days after the sides won their respective league titles.
The Saints led 39-29 going into the fourth quarter, but a Panthers’ comeback gave them a chance to take the lead with fewer than 20 seconds remaining on the clock.
It was not to be, however, as junior guard and game MVP Ja’Quan Newton iced the game with free throws.
As a result, Neumann-Goretti is the No. 1 seed going into the state playoffs, with Imhotep as the No. 2 seed. Translation: There could be a rematch in the state-championship game.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In the opening round on Friday, Neumann-Goretti faces Harrisburg’s Bishop McDevitt at Archbishop Ryan while Imhotep Charter plays Salisbury Township at South Philadelphia High School.